Rebuilding Notre Dame

In April 2019, the world watched in horror as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was engulfed in flames, its iconic spire tipping to its demise.  Its repair seems unbelievable, but it has happened before.  In the 19th century, the Cathedral was in such a state of disrepair after the Napoleonic Wars that it was almost demolished – until Victor Hugo wrote Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and the building was resurrected to its former glory.

Now people are clamoring to achieve the same goal once again – to rebuild the national treasure. However, as years shift, techniques advance and change, and once-standard materials become obsolete, the process has proven a difficult task.

On March 5, Alliance Française in White Plains will host a lecture that will address some of these challenges. Professor Howard Bloch, a professor of medieval literature at Yale, will discuss potential setbacks involved in rebuilding the roof of this 850-year-old cathedral, such as maintaining the authenticity and stability of the structure.  The lecture will also discuss the architecture of French cathedrals.  A Q&A will follow. For more info, visit A version of this article first appeared in the March issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at

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